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Storytime

Once upon a time in the 1990s there was a young man who started making very interesting comic books. He published them himself and then went on to fame and fortune. The big time. Along the way, he acted like a rockstar and stepped on the little people who helped get him there and lost many of his original fans because of his attitude. He stopped being a force of change long ago. Now he is stepping on the little guys again by falling in line with corporate culture – towing the party line by participating in the crass exploitation of one of the great works in comics that is rolling out as we speak.

There is a comic book shop that championed the young man right out of the gate. Lets call the comic book shop “Stalker” and lets call the young man who made very interesting comic books “Rockstar”.

Stalker pushed and pushed Rockstar’s comic books. Selling hundreds of copies of his self published works. This was very uncommon for the time. Selling hundreds of copies of one issue of anything – even popular corporate comic books is an achievement. Rockstar became very popular at the Stalker comic book shop. He became so popular that Stalker decided to invite Rockstar (who lived in the next state over) to a comic book convention that Stalker was putting on down the street from the shop. The con took place on a university campus in the center of town. 

Stalker rented and paid in advance for a hotel room for Rockstar a few blocks away from the con. Everything was set. The day of the con arrived and to everyone’s surprise, Rockstar did not show up to the convention. Stalker called the hotel. Rockstar had indeed checked into the hotel along with his girlfriend. Stalker asked the hotel manager to call Rockstar’s room. No answer. The day wore on and many of Rockstar’s fans were disappointed that he didn’t show up to the con.

Remember this is the age before cell phones. Stalker assumed that Rockstar would at least call the shop and check in at some point. Rockstar never called, never showed up to the convention. Stalker called the hotel again. No answer.

Stalker left a message on Rockstar’s answering machine at home. On the following Monday afternoon Stalker was finally able to get a hold of Rockstar at his home half a state away.

“What happened?”

“I couldn’t find the convention.”

“You couldn’t find it?”

“No, so we drove up to the mall where Dawn Of The Dead was filmed and walked around.”

“Why didn’t you call the shop?”

“I couldn’t remember the name of it.”

“Dude, there’s only so many comic book shops in this burg and the con was advertised in the paper.”

“I couldn’t find the convention.”

“You found the hotel we paid for with no problem..”

(Silence)

Wait. It gets better. A few months later, Rockstar called the Stalker shop and said that Stalker had not paid him for a large order of his self published comic books. Stalker insisted that they had paid Rockstar. Rockstar insisted that he had not been paid. So, Stalker went to the bank and got a xerox copy of the cancelled check that Rockstar had signed and deposited – and faxed it to Rockstar.

Rockstar never called back to apologize for the misunderstanding. To this day, Stalker curses viciously whenever Rockstar’s name is brought up and tells the above story over again to anyone in the shop who will listen. ”What an asshole.”


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